Monday, 2 February 2009

Chainsaw massacre started in Bute Park this afternoon.

Tree felling started in the Park this afternoon.
This is on the basis of the officers giving the developers permission to work in the Park on felling the trees, whether or not the legalities of the lease of the land to the College have been completed and without meeting the pre-conditions before any start to the development.
They have given a restrictive interpretation of 'start to the development' in the T&CP Act to the benefit of the developer. This is not only against the spirit of the pre-conditions, but also against the wording of s.56 of the Act because they ignored subsection 4(e):
any change in the use of any land which constitutes material development.
with exemptions in section 5 for work that is permitted and in Schedule 3 for repairs and small extensions.
I wouldn't put it past the officers to try and claim the change-of-use only starts once the new College building opens, despite the area of land being out of bounds to Park users (as today).
The issue is whether Council officers treat the law with respect or as something to twist if they can get away with it. Will you insist in this case that they respect it?
That can be done by enforcement action and/or withdrawing the permission to fell trees as part of a premature (unlawful) development.
You will notice that the officers/developers have chosen to block this well-used access to the Park while the work proceeds on the trees, instead of starting by constructing the future diversion of the path. Why should we and you tolerate such disregard for users of the Park?

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